Sufficient foodgrains in buffer stock to meet increased demand amid COVID-19 crisis: Paswan

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has said that the government has been ensuring transport and distribution of free food grains to the people during the lockdown period.

Sufficient quantity of food grains is available in buffer stock to fulfill the nation's increased demand during the COVID-19 crisis, Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Saturday.

The minister said in a release issued by the ministry on Saturday that the government has been ensuring transport and distribution of free food grains to the people during the lockdown period. He said that as on May 28, FCI has 272.29 LMT rice and 479.40 LMT wheat. Hence, a total of 751.69 LMT food grain stock is available (excluding the ongoing purchase of wheat and paddy, which have not yet reached the godown), he added.

Paswan said that since the lockdown was announced on March 24, 2020, about 101.81 LMT food grains have been lifted and transported through 3,636 rail rakes. Apart from the rail route, transportation was also done through roads and waterways. A total of 213.02 LMT has been transported. 12,000 MT food grains was transported through 12 ships. Total 10.37 LMT food grains have been transported to the North-Eastern States, he stated.

The FCI and NAFED have undertaken a massive exercise transporting food grains to states and UTs for distribution under Atmanirbhar scheme, PM-GKAY and NFSA, he said.

The minister stated that under PMGKAY, for three months, a total of 104.4 LMT rice and 15.6 LMT wheat is required of which 84.95 LMT rice and 12.91 LMT wheat have been lifted by various states and UTs. A total of 97.87 LMT food grain has been lifted till 29.5.2020. Along with additional food grains, 1 Kg Pulses/Dal per family per month are being given free-of-cost to all 80 crore NFSA beneficiaries for a period of three months April to June 2020 across all States/UTs.

Paswan said the total requirement for pulses for three months is 5.87 LMT. So far, 4.77 LMT pulses have been dispatched while 3.80 LMT Pulses have reached the States/UTs. As on 29.5.2020, 1.75 LMT pulses have been distributed by the States/UTs.

Under the NFSA and other welfare schemes of the government of India, total 55 LMT food grains are required for one month. The department has already delegated the power to FCI to grant extension to states/UTs for lifting the unlifted quantity to further six months i.e up to June, 2020 as first extension and while for the Northeast states and J&K as second extension as measures to improve offtake of foodgrain under TPDS/NFSA, the minister stated in the release.

Under the OMSS, the government liberalized the sale of food grains by the FCI to states and NGOs by offering wheat and rice at a subsidized rate, he added.

Paswan said that states/UTs have already lifted 2.06 LMT food grains under Atma Nirbhar Bharat package. The distribution has started and will be completed on schedule, he added.

First Published:May 30, 2020, 6:41 p.m.

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